AFROPUNK

... the other Black experience

GOTH. The Aesthetic and The Subculture: Getting Past the Stupid Shit.

A while back I went through an ugly experience as a result of joining a goth chat line. To begin with, I was new to a conscious identification with the subculture and new to chat lines too, so I had some hurdles to jump. I didn't expect I'd have to jump them in a mine field though. The worst of it: Three attacks were made on my computer (files stolen, virus planted, I lost a lot of stuff). This whole experience was my first encounter with goth as a subculture. I didn't expect the racism or the hostility and having gone through it, it threw me for a loop. It constituted an ugly truth about the subculture that I couldn't ignore.

Words by Spookycreep

The subculture is fine. It just has a few nuts in it. Nonetheless, I think those "nuts" need to be taken note of because there are evidently a lot of them. So much so that they are a distinct part of the subculture - the elitist snobs who won't stoop to be human beings. For a while afterwards I felt they were typical of the subculture and to be a goth meant having to live under their shadow. It's as if dogma had been set up and woe to any goth that breaks the commandments - chief among them: thou shall not ask what is goth.

There is a word for bullshit like this: collectivism. The belief that the individual should be subordinated to the group. This is a BIG problem with me. I've always been of the frame of mind to where the group can kiss my ass. I am the boss of me. I'm all for identifying with given groups, Afro-punk for example, the Satanic for another, but when the group thinks it can dictate how one is suppose to think and feel, it's time to tear the group to shreds.

And so, after my experience with the chat line, my view of the subculture had soured. Even finding black goth videos didn't change that. The best I could see for goths of color was equal but separate but that sucked too. And there were other factors to consider as well, like the fact that not all goths - not even those on the chat line - are assholes.

So I found myself with a dilemma. How did I work my way through it? I took a look at all the steps that led me to join the chat line. In a nutshell, I 've always liked dark things. Horror movies, dark music, grey days to sunshine and wandering in out of the way places. I was a fan of goth music even before I knew what goth was and had been painitng the nail of my pinky on my left hand, black for even longer. Given these dark inclinations, it was inevitable that once I discovered the subculture I would love it. Who would have thought? The Addams family is real.

In the course of taking this walk down memory lane, it became apparent to me that the dumb-asses of the subculture have nothing to do with my love of the dark and there's no reason in the world why I should listen to them. They didn't create the subculture and no matter how common place such idiots may be, they don't make the rules either. Having come to this conclusion, the goof-balls went "poof" and vanished into thin air.

Also, as a result of my look back, a definition of goth that I can live with presents itself. It is two things: an aesthetic and a subculture. You can express the aesthetic without being a part of the subculture but the reverse is not true. Everyone knows what the goth aesthetic is, one that finds beauty in dark things but what of goth as a subculture?

It's a spooky subculture. Granted, it has other elements as well but spooky is primary and the defining one. Goth is a subculture that expresses its love of the dark through all of the arts, philosophy, as well as lifestyle. This last is a bit trickier, what does it mean to have a goth lifestyle?

It's to have a lifestyle that reflects what you perceive to be fundamental to your identity. Your core being you could say most goths will tell you that they never feel more like themselves until they are "gothed out".

Okay, the chat line thing didn't go too well. Fuck it. My next move is to check out some clubs. My exploration continues. I'm hardly an old hand at being a part of this subculture but I don't think I'm a baby bat anymore either. I'm a teenage bat perhaps and hopefully an intelligent one. I was a teenage bat! Yeah, that sounds about right, has a vintage ring to it too.

Images from templetresses.blogspot.com

Views: 1285

Tags: Aesthetic, African, American, Black, Culture, Goth, Subculture

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Comment by The Deacon on July 3, 2011 at 9:59pm

      Didn't know people took this Goth thing this serious. At least no more than any other subculture that pop up. Side point, is Emo a spin off of Goth?

      The extent of my relationship with goth is Sisters of Mercy, which put out some hot dance music in the late 80's early 90's. And I've heard Andrew Eldritch in a few interviews;  not the sort of cat I imagine having a cup of tea with; but the music is great.
    

Comment by High Yellow Theory on July 1, 2011 at 11:54pm
Hey,I heard there was free beer here so I came as quick as I could.
Comment by M. Francis on July 1, 2011 at 12:45pm

My apologies. I only read the article, which doesn't reveal your gender, without looking at your profile before posting my reply.cMy mistake. As for God and the devil being one....I don't believe in either. IMO they were both created from a culture of guilt and control. 

Comment by Spookycreep on July 1, 2011 at 10:13am
   Sad comments M. and thank you for the thumbs up but whats up with that "my dear" shit? I'm a guy. I hide behind the females because they are good protection. God and the Devil are One. (How's that for killing a whole slew of birds with one stone?) 
Comment by Fashionfreak on July 1, 2011 at 10:10am

Like Lunakiss I too take interest in dark themes...death, the color black, the night sky....and yeah the addams family too!!! but I don't call myself a goth. I prefer not to label myself (tho I do consider myself an afro-punk lol is that being contradictory?) but that's b/c ap is a wide spectrum of things, people, and ideas.

Sorry for your experience I still have to deal with shit from people who think I'm out of order for mixing my love for heavy metal and punk with hip-hop culture like, HOW DARE SHE!!! OFF WITH HER HEAD! It's just music and interests whoooo carreeessss! I mean has anyone ever noticed how dark and emo Tupac is? LOL.

Comment by Spookycreep on July 1, 2011 at 9:59am
    Ms. Lunakiss: I am both nocturnal and goth_ now.
Comment by M. Francis on July 1, 2011 at 2:05am

I went through the same crap back in '84. (We were called 'Death Rockers' then. LOL)

It's sad that 27 years later the same BS still happens. Good for you for defining what Goth means to you!

Nobody can take away how you define YOU. So keep blazing that trail through the dark my dear!

Comment by Spookycreep on June 30, 2011 at 8:23am
    I appreciate all the comments. I was wondering if it was just me. It's good to know that it''s not but it doesn't change any of the conclusions Iv'e reached. We don't have to surrender the culture to the assholes no matter how many of them there may be. Further, the fact remains_ and let us call a spade a spade_ not all white goths are like this. It would be a disservice and a moral sin to ever forget that. No need to grant to the idiots an authority they don't have.
Comment by Kaos Blac on June 29, 2011 at 9:17pm
Anybody heard of a group called A Darker Shade Ov Pale and it's founder Draka67?
Comment by Kurojira Uzumaki on June 29, 2011 at 7:54pm

I've been trying (sort of) for 24ish years to find out the name of a Mission (UK) song I recorded off of public radio onto cassette & today I did: Fabienne!  I love it!!  Still do & have since I was a junior in HS (class o' '89)! 

& Today I found this post - I can relate.  I'm so over Scenes, like the top leaves of a tree.  Get me not wrong, I'm still the whole tree, minus a branch or limb or two.  Your perspective is accurate as I compare it to my experience - not too much to add or subtract.  In both the two little big cities I've lived in over the last 20ish years I hit the ceiling of the goth scene... so of course I had to find a way out.  Control through individuality?  It can be said.  Counter-conformism?  That too. 


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